Jayanthi letter rocks capital; Congress evasive, BJP on the offensive

Former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan. File photo: R. Ragu  

The national capital’s political scene was rocked by The Hindu exclusive on former UPA Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan’s allegation that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had interfered in her decisions.

Ms. Natarajan said in the letter that Mr. Gandhi made her a scapegoat once he wanted to get friendly with the industry. She was sacked as minister in December 2013.

Several Congress leaders reacted individually to the allegations made by Ms. Natarajan and a formal and official response may or may not come later in the day, according to Congress sources.

Senior party leader Digvijaya Singh described Ms. Natarajan’s allegations “uncalled for.” Congress sources close to Mr. Gandhi put up a brave face and told The Hindu that Ms. Natarajan was removed after a “series of complaints against her, not only from industry, but even from public sector companies such as the ONGC and several party chief ministers, regarding arbitrariness in her decisions.”

The BJP and the Union government launched an all-out attack on the Congress and its first family, terming Ms. Natarajan’s letter as proof of what they have always been alleging – that decision in the previous UPA governments were taken at the whims of the Gandhis. Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javdekar said the government would review the decisions mentioned by Ms. Natarajan in her letter.

“The revelations made by Jayanthi Natarajan in her letter to Sonia Gandhi, which have become public today, are a matter of great concern and is a serious issue,” he said.

He said as Environment Minister, it is his duty to review those specific files where extraneous influence has been alleged as per the letter. “I will definitely review those files and see what are the facts,” Mr. Javadekar said.

Senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister said the revelations are a “text book case of crony capitalism’’.

“Policies were made to hurt or help some people and the Environment Ministry must take a re-look at all the projects cleared and withheld during the  UPA regime,’’ he told journalists.

Using strong words he said, “When whims of political leaders overtake legal requirements this becomes a textbook case of crony capitalism and this is exactly what the UPA government was practising. The UPA was a practitioner of sadistic economy, was vindictive in nature, wanting to teach some people a lesson and wanting to favour some. This had to be for corrupt and collateral reasons and this is precisely why India suffered in the last few years of the UPA government.’’

The disclosures, coming as they do, on the eve of crucial Delhi Assembly elections do not augur well for the beleaguered Congress Party or its vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Congress leader P.C. Chacko termed the allegations as baseless and said the party never got any compliant from her about “interference by Mr. Gandhi’’.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Jayanthi Natarajan’s predecessor at Environment Ministry, on Friday said her charges were “not just completely unfair but also preposterously baseless”, according to agency report.

In a statement in New Delhi, Mr. Ramesh said, “As Jayanti Natarajan’s immediate predecessor for slightly over 25 months, I can say with all honesty that at no point of time did Rahul Gandhi ever tell me, directly or indirectly, what to do or what not to do in the discharge of my Ministerial responsibilities.

“Her allegations against him are not just completely unfair but also preposterously baseless.”

Full coverage of Jayanthi Naratarajan quitting Congress

Former Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan quit from the primary membership of the Congress >Read here

The Hindu Exclusive: Jayanthi Natarajan's letter to Sonia Gandhi. >Read here

Congress high command has to respond to Jayanthi's charges: CPI >Read here

Prakash Javdekar said it was his duty to review those specific files where extraneous influence had been alleged as per the letter. >Read here

Jayanthi's letter rocks capital; Congress evasive, BJP on the offensive. >Read here

BJP denied that Jayanthi Natarajan had met any of their leaders last year. >Read here

Several Congress leaders issued hard-hitting statements against their former colleague >Read here

Digvijaya Singh, AICC general secretary and in-charge of Karnataka, said her “allegations are uncalled for”. >Read here

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 1:12:55 AM |

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